This revolution will be “won” for the whole world and all living beings within it, not by attacking the old paradigm, but by championing the new, on and on, despite resistance, slurs, and personal attacks, until the number of people who become attracted to the new algorithm exceed the necessary critical mass and further developments acquire the impetus generated by hope and determination.
As Thomas Kuhn described in his Structure of Scientific Revolutions, the old academicians will generally not recognize and admit that the picture they had promoted is flawed or at least incomplete, though the rules of science are that a researcher must follow where the evidence leads, modifying extant theories as needed or even throwing them over altogether as may be necessary to find an explanation of the evidence that best explains it. One example of a true scientist who practices according to the ethical rules of science is the British biologist, Rupert Sheldrake; another is the American geologist, Robert Schoch.
How can you join the revolution? You don’t have to become an academic or be a professional scholar. You just need to have an open mind, examine the values and assumptions you were handed as a child by your social milieu – as we all were – and ask whether they’re really serving you well, until you find an explanation that makes you feel more comfortable in your skin, more at home in the world than at present. Don’t worry about being “right.” If you continue this practice, you will probably adopt an explanation that fits what you perceive around you better than before, and makes you feel you’re approaching “truth.” None of us have a complete grasp of the Truth; that is a state of perfection that doesn’t generally exist here on the Earth plane. Not our business as human beings. Our task is to try to become more humane, more compassionate, more intuitive, more loving, and more spiritual than we were yesterday. The rational mind is best employed when serving the heart and the soul. In short, “question authority”; but don’t reject it out of hand, we need it.
The Academy should welcome and respect gifted “amateurs.” I don’t mean everyone with a wild idea or a utopian fantasy; but those who are not members of the Academy with Ph.D.s, yet have carefully conducted sound explorations and can document or reproduce at will their efforts. They can and have historically upstaged the Academy, which must deal with its tendency to become calcified in its positions. Some outstanding examples are Schliemann, who discovered Troy when the Academy had long convinced itself that Troy was only a fantasy, a poetic construct; Wasson, who found the still-extant mushroom cult of highlands Mexico when the Academy had convinced itself that it, too, was a myth based on a mistaken perception of, or translation by, the Spanish conquistadors; and Graham Hancock and his ilk, radical archaeologists and historians who look at megalithic structures extant around the world and similar in many ways, and say “there must be a new explanation, and new conception of our history that explains these, rather than just trying to ignore them”; and who seek to make sense of worldwide myths common in widely varied human cultures, rather than dismissing them as fantasy.
What has all this got to do with my work? I am a theoretical psychologist specializing in consciousness studies. One subset of this category of psychology is addiction studies, and another is Entheogenic (psychedelic) studies. I hold the prevailing paradigm of scientific materialism, which arises from the modern worldview of positivist reductionism, responsible (in part) for the proliferation of mental illness in modern Western society, of which addictions are some of the worst. No one becomes an addict just by using too many drugs and getting hooked. People can develop “drug problems” that way. That explanation does nothing to explain behavioral addictions in which drugs do not feature, or are secondary to the primary addictive behavior – like gambling. Sure alcohol and cigarettes figure prominently in that scene, but it is gambling that is the core attractive behavior. What about internet addiction? No chemical substances are required. Sex addiction? Food addiction? Addiction to dangerous thrill-seeking behavior? Drugs may be involved in some of these, but they’re not the addiction. My point is that addiction is first a psychological, emotional, and spiritual problem, and the addictive behavior is an attempt to dull and avoid pain. Trauma is always implicated at the core of all addictions. My investigation into these real, painful, and vexing problems is my “thin edge of the wedge” to expose the larger, background problem behind it all.
What is a widespread trauma that all citizens of modern Western cultures suffer from? Meaninglessness. Human beings are the meaning-seeking creature, but we are trapped in societies that are based on a reductionist-materialist worldview. It tells us that we live in a meaningless universe composed only of atomic bits of matter randomly striking each other, and that those collisions represent all the events and result in all the structure we perceive. You and I are accidental, temporary blips in an unconscious, cold and uncaring universe, and our life doesn’t mean a thing. In fact, our consciousness is no more than incidental, epiphenomenal foam resulting from the electrochemical functioning of our brains, just as seafoam is generated by the action of the waves. It doesn’t mean anything and it doesn’t affect anything. What is incredible to me is that the people who say these things use their meaningless, inconsequential consciousness “foam” to construct arguments in order to convince us that it, and life, and self-identity, and therefore everything that a human being is, has no meaning, no purpose, and affects nothing. So when we die, we wink out of existence, having done nothing, affected no one, and left no mark.
Well, this is diametrically opposed to a fundamental human need to find meaning. So of course people are beset by existential angst at the deepest levels, and this eventually translates into inappropriate behavior arising from such mental illnesses as “free-floating anxiety,” depression, and at worst, addictions.
No thank you: I’ve done the anxiety, depression, and addiction thing and it didn’t work so well for me. I choose an ensouled universe, not just because I want it to be true, but because I have learned to question the unexamined assumptions – or “contracts” as don Miguel Ruiz has called them – that I was handed, and have found them wanting. By opening my mind and my heart to seek higher truths, I have had personal experience – unquantifiable, yet undeniable – that convinces me that I do live in an ensouled universe, and that love is the highest practice possible for us.
Would you like to join me?